As the world started shutting down, some teams at Zappos started looking for a solution to a new series of problems the COVID pandemic revealed. One of those potential solutions was a delivery box that used UV-C light to sanitize food and other objects while in-transit.
As businesses started shutting down, the number of people getting food and groceries delivered home increased exponentially in a matter of weeks. With very little science around the COVID-19 virus, customers and delivery workers were concerned about the safety of the handling of the products. People lost trust in practices that were fine before because they could not see the virus.
The final consumers were delivery workers and people ordering delivery. The ideal customer were initially delivery companies, so they could provide their drivers with a safe method of handling the food and groceries. A second customer was the person receiving the food at home.
To build trust by introducing consumers to the technology and science behind the product.
Gauge individual consumer interest to determine the viability of the business.
Build anticipation for the brand without having to wait until all brand and event details were fully developed.
We created two pieces. A one-page website to talk about UV-C light in a detailed fashion, show lab test results, and include ways for potential customers to get in touch.
The other piece was an animated video displaying the way the bag worked, this followed a less scientific approach. The idea was to show the product in a normal situation.
The biggest challenge was the speed with which we had to move. We had to create a solution and promote a product that was very much in the development phase. We used 3D models that didn't exactly match the final prototype and most likely were not going to match the final product.
There was a big risk from a legal perspective with making claims about the product's efficacy in killing the COVID-19 virus, so we could not make specific mentions of anything absolute. We had to gain the customers' trust only by showing the technology and general principles.
The second biggest challenge was the lack of trust. People were in a state where they didn't know how to behave in the face of an invisible virus, with very little guidance from official sources and a lot of opinions spread through the internet. While UV-C light was not new as a sanitizing technology, it was not a common sight in a typical home. It was more of a medical/industrial process.
The research here was pretty scarce on our end. As the world was more or less paralyzed, we couldn't properly research and define our customers or problem. We pieced together some assumptions based on people's sentiments shown by the media, existing science on UV-C light and its sanitizing properties, and previous delivery best practices from delivery companies.
The competitors were other sanitizing solutions. People were familiar with sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, water, and soap, etc. The delivery bag with UV-C light was a first-of-its-kind so there was no direct competition.